For businesses of all sizes, VoIP can be an ideal approach to voice calling. It’s cost-effective, and allows a level of flexibility and calling features that traditional telephone service can’t offer. But transitioning off of the PSTN should also include a corresponding move to SIP trunking, which allows businesses to run their voice and data off of one pipe.

SIP carries a number of benefits. For one, it’s is an IETF standard for multimedia initiations, so it can support IP voice, data and video over the Internet—which paves the way for incorporating enhanced collaboration features like desktop video conferencing, integrated cloud applications and unified communications as-a-service into a business phone system.

Also, it can easily support the borderless office. As employees increasingly work from home, the road, client locations, waiting rooms, the supermarket, what have you, mobile extensions to the office phone system have become requirements. SIP allows businesses to maintain feature continuity via the cloud—making sure that mobile workers can access everything they need, like four-digit dialing, just as though they were at their desks.

It also allows for users to be added in geographically disparate locations. If a company wants to open a branch on the other side of the country (or the world, for that matter), all it takes is a SIP trunk in both locations to get VoIP calling up and running, with flat rates for both local and long-distance calls, and free interoffice dialing. Local numbers can be assigned as well, so if a company provides service in a location where they don’t have an office, they can still offer their customers a local number to call.

SIP trunking is also elastic—businesses can scale capacity and the number of phone lines/extensions up or down to suit their needs—whether to meet seasonal demand in a call center environment, or to adjust for a rapidly growing workforce.

Implementing SIP is also fairly simple. In addition to choosing a provider, companies need to ensure that a few important other pieces are in place as well.

“While the only real requirement for VoIP and SIP trunking is an Internet connection, you want to make the most of it by adapting good practices that allows you to make the most out of the technology,” explained CloudTweaks’ Glenn Blake, in a recent column.

These include having a business-grade Internet connection installed that is stable and offers a high broadband speed; ensuring that QoS routers and switches are in place on the LAN; ensuring that the LAN is configured correctly for SIP and VoIP; and selecting SIP-ready IP phones and endpoints.

As far as endpoints go, offerings like those from Yealink (News - Alert) come in different models, capable of supporting everything from UC to video calling to speed dialing. SIP trunks help businesses take advantage of these advanced features.

“SIP allows for the transmission of different communication tools such as voice, data, and video. This allows [businesses] to combine different communication tools like fax, voice, and others into one phone system,” Blake explained. “This allows them to provide companies of all sizes a streamlined cloud-hosted phone system that combines different advanced communication features.”

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor